Chargers 27, Chiefs 24
Nick Novak kicked a 36-yard field goal with 5:30 left in overtime and the host San Diego Chargers, who trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter, claimed the AFC’s final playoff spot, knocking the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the playoffs. The Chiefs will meet Indianapolis in the first round of the playoffs next week. San Diego, 8-8, will face Cincinnati.
The Chargers (9-7) ended a three-year postseason drought. The winning drive was kept alive by a 2-yard gain by Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle on a fake punt on fourth-and-2 from the Chargers 28. The game ended when Kansas City couldn’t convert on fourth-and-15 from the San Diego 41 with 3:16 left.
With the Chargers on the verge of an embarrassing collapse against a team resting 20 of 22 starters, Philip Rivers threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal early in the fourth quarter and Novak kicked a 22-yard field goal to tie it.
Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop was wide right on a potential game-winning, 41-yard field-goal try with 4 seconds left in regulation.
Packers 33, Bears 28
Aaron Rodgers fired a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the final minute, and the visiting Green Bay Packers captured the NFC North championship and will host San Francisco next weekend.
Back after missing seven games with a broken left collarbone, Rodgers found a wide open Cobb on fourth-and-8 at the 48 to wipe out a one-point deficit with 38 seconds left.
The Bears had one final drive, but Jay Cutler’s deep pass to Alshon Jeffery was intercepted by Sam Shields on the final play.
That gave the Packers (8-7-1) their third consecutive division title and fifth postseason appearance in a row. It also kept the Bears (8-8) out of the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.
Bengals 34, Ravens 17
Andy Dalton threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and set a pair of Bengals passing records, leading host Cincinnati to a decisive victory that eliminated the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
It was an erratic performance by the third-year quarterback, who threw four interceptions as well. The Bengals (11-5) head into the playoffs as AFC North champions.
The Ravens (8-8) lost their last two games, becoming the 15th Super Bowl champ that failed to reach the playoffs the following season and the sixth in the last 12 years.
Dalton broke Carson Palmer’s club records for TD passes and yards passing.
Jets 20, Dolphins 7
The Miami Dolphins were eliminated from the scramble for the AFC’s final wild-card berth by the visiting New York Jets, who thrived in the role of spoilers against their archrivals.
Geno Smith led three long scoring drives, ran for a touchdown and threw for 190 yards, while two interceptions by rookie Dee Milliner and one by 35-year-old Ed Reed prevented a Miami comeback.
The Dolphins (8-8) squandered a shot at their first playoff berth since 2008 by losing their final two games. The Jets (8-8) will sit out the postseason for the third year in a row.
Giants 20, Redskins 6
Jerrel Jerigan caught a 24-yard touchdown pass and ran 49 yards for another to lead the host New York Giants over Washington in what might be Mike Shanahan’s final game as the Redskins’ coach.
Shanahan has not only seen the Redskins (3-13) finish the season with an eight-game losing streak just a year after winning the NFC East.
The Giants (7-9) also aren’t going to the playoffs, but they closed the season with a 7-3 record after losing their first six games.
Panthers 21, Falcons 20
Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes, Greg Hardy had a team-record four sacks and the Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South title by beating the host Atlanta Falcons.
The Panthers (12-4) set a team record with nine sacks of Matt Ryan and clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage for at least one game.
Vikings 14, Lions 13
Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson scored two touchdowns, including the go-ahead catch in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Detroit Lions in the final game at the Metrodome after 32 seasons.
With both the Vikings (5-10-1) and the Lions (7-9) out of the playoffs, both coaches also faced the possibility of their last full day with their teams.
The building will be torn down next month to make room for a new domed stadium on the same site.
Colts 30, Jaguars 10
Andrew Luck threw for 282 yards and one touchdown, Robert Mathis reclaimed the NFL sacks lead and Adam Vinatieri joined the 2,000-point club as the host Colts routed Jacksonville (4-12).
The AFC South champs have now won three in a row, matching their longest streak of the season. Indy (11-5) finished with a 6-0 mark against division foes and has outscored its last three opponents 78-20.
Luck was 26-of-37 and became the first player in league history to top 8,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons. Mathis finished with 19½ sacks.
Titans 16, Texans 10
Chris Johnson ran for 127 yards and a touchdown in what might be his last game with the host Titans, who beat the Houston Texans for a win that might help coach Mike Munchak stay on the job in 2014.
With their 14th loss in a row, the Texans (2-14) clinched the No. 1 selection in next May’s draft.
The Titans (7-9) scored 16 consecutive points in snapping a five-game home skid.
Rob Bironas kicked three field goals, including a ?season-long 55-yarder.
Patriots 34, Bills 20
LeGarrette Blount ran for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns and had two long kickoff returns as the host New England Patriots clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
Tom Brady was content to hand the ball off during a steady downpour against a team that ranked first in the NFL in sacks and second in interceptions.
Stephen Gostkowski helped make sure the Patriots (12-4) wouldn’t have a game next weekend with four field goals.
The Bills (6-10) missed the playoffs for the 14th consecutive year.
Broncos 34, Raiders 14
Peyton Manning set the NFL single-season yards record and threw four TD passes to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos (13-3) will have a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Manning threw TD passes to Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno in the first quarter and two to Demaryius Thomas in the second.
The Raiders (4-12) ended their 11th consecutive non-winning season with six losses in a row.
Saints 42, Buccaneers 17
Drew Brees passed for four touchdowns and ran for another score, and host New Orleans clinched a wild-card spot. Three of Brees’ scoring strikes were longer than 40 yards — 76 to Kenny Stills, 44 to Lance Moore and 41 to Robert Meachem.
Brees passed for 381 yards, eclipsing 5,000 yards in a season for an unprecedented fourth time. He finished the season with 5,162 yards to go with 39 touchdowns.
Brees’ other TD was a 10-yard pass to tight end Jimmy Graham, and the Saints (11-5) finished 8-0 in the Superdome.
Seahawks 27, Rams 9
Malcolm Smith returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, Marshawn Lynch added a 2-yard scoring run and the host Seattle Seahawks clinched the NFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Seattle (13-3) matched the franchise record for wins in a season.
49ers 23, Cardinals 20
Phil Dawson kicked a 40-yard field goal as the game ended to lift visiting San Francisco to the NFC’s No. 5 playoff seed.
Dawson had matched his career best with a 56-yarder to put San Francisco (12-4) up 20-17 with 1:45 to go. Jay Feely’s 43-yard field goal then tied it for Arizona with 34 seconds left.
LaMichael James’ 45-yard kickoff return and two quick completions by Colin Kaepernick set up Dawson’s game winner.
Arizona (10-6) rallied from a 17-0 first-quarter deficit to tie it on Carson Palmer’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts with 3:20 left.
Eagles 24, Cowboys 22
Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes, NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had 131 yards and a receiving score and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the host Dallas Cowboys in a win-or-go-home game for the NFC East title.
The Cowboys (8-8), with Kyle Orton filling in two days after Tony Romo had back surgery, lost to a division rival with a playoff berth on the line for the third year in a row. The Eagles (10-6) will host New Orleans in a wild-card game Saturday night.
Dallas trailed 24-16 when Orton threw a 32-yard TD pass to Dez Bryant. Orton went to Bryant for the 2-point conversion, but Cary Williams dove to punch it away.